National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer centers divide into three categories: Basic Laboratory Cancer Centers, Cancer Centers, and Comprehensive Cancer Centers.
Basic Laboratory Cancer Centers are primarily focused on laboratory research and often conduct preclinical translation while working collaboratively with other institutions to apply these laboratory findings to new and better treatments. These centers generally do not provide patient care, although they might be able to direct you to a center that does.
Cancer Centers are institutions that conduct cancer research and also provide patient care. They are recognized for their scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of their basic, clinical, and/or prevention cancer research.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide all that you would find at a cancer center. However, they provide an added depth and breadth of research, as well as substantial transdisciplinary research, which bridges different scientific areas.